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Trail Pass Trail #3504

 3.0 (1)

Travel across the sandy "beaches", through meadows, and in the fir forested hills of Golden Trout Wilderness.

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Point to Point

10,463' 3,189 m


8,931' 2,722 m


748' 228 m


1,728' 527 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Commonly Backpacked · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Need to Know

Up to the 7.5 mile mark this trail can be quite dry so make sure to bring enough water.


Trail Pass Trail can be found about a half mile from the Horseshoe Meadow trailhead. There is a big trailhead sign at the end of the parking area. Start off on the trail here. After about a half mile there is a well marked fork in the trail. Go left/south here to hike Trail Pass Trail.

The tread is sandy as Trail Pass Trail heads off across Horeshoe Meadow, the first of many meadows. These meadows are a mix of sandy areas and areas of low vegetation. Forested hills surround and separate these meadows.

Reaching the far side of Horseshoe Meadow, Trail Pass Trail enters the forest, and soon begins to climb to Trail Pass. After a nice 500 foot climb in the forest, Trail Pass is reached at the 2 mile mark. The trail then descends down the more open, sandy, rocky south side of Trail Pass to reach Mulkey Meadows and a trail junction at the 4 mile mark. Stay to the right at this trail junction and head off over a long sandy stretch with views of a meadow surrounded by forested hills, in the distance.

At the 5 mile mark, with forested hills rising up to the right/north, green Bullfrog Meadow is reached. After another mile spent crossing Bullfrog Meadow, the trail re-enters the thin forest and soon begins to descend gradually.

Continuing to descend, the trail veers left/south at the 7.4 mile mark and follows a small stream. This is the beginning of the South Fork Kern River and a great place to fill up water bottles finally. Along the stream, the vegetation is thicker and the cool shade makes for nice hiking.

At the 8 mile mark, Trail Pass Trail veers right/southwest. Leaving the forest, for the next three miles (to the end of the trail), now in Tunnel Meadow, Trail Pass Trail travels over sand. To the left is low vegetation and the South Fork Kern River that is too far away to be seen though. Thinly forested hills rise to the right.

After 11 miles, Trail Pass Trail ends as it meets Siberian Pass Trail coming in from the right/north. Here, another trail - Golden Trout Creek Trail picks up where Trail Pass Trail ends.

Flora & Fauna

Barren sandy areas, meadows covered with low vegetation, thinly forested (conifers) hills with little underbrush. Areas that creeks flow through have lusher vegetation, more undergrowth, grasses, etc. There are deer and bears living here. Also based on seeing tracks, there are either coyotes or foxes.


Shared By:

Chris S with improvements by Joan Pendleton

Trail Ratings

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  3.0 from 1 vote
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4 Views Last Month
37 Since May 25, 2021



Mulkey Meadow from intersection of Trail Pass trail #3504 and Mulkey Pass trail #3528 (9-24-2009)
May 21, 2021 near Lone Pine, CA
Olancha Peak from Trail Pass (9-24-2009)
May 21, 2021 near Lone Pine, CA
The pretty forest over Trail Pass.  This is typical of the forested hills of Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo National Forest.
May 11, 2022 near Lone Pine, CA
Kern Peak, 11,501 ft. (center), is in the distance to the southwest when descending the south side of Trail Pass.
May 11, 2022 near Lone Pine, CA
Crossing Horseshoe Meadow on Trail Pass Trail.
May 11, 2022 near Lone Pine, CA
Mulkey Meadows ahead. Kern Peak, 11,510 ft., in the center is trying to hide behind nearby forested hills. Seen looking southwest at the Trail Pass/Mulkey Meadows Trail junction in early May.
May 11, 2022 near Lone Pine, CA



Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 97 days ago See History
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May 1, 2022
Joan Pendleton